Rav Wosner: Can A Litvak Wear A Shtreimel For Davening On Purim?


rav-wosnerAs we all know, Purim is a time when people – even adults – dress up. Thus, a Litvak might wear a shtreimel if he so chooses in the Purim spirit. The halacha clearly states (Orach Chaim 91), though, that one must daven in the manner in which one appears before important people. Thus, Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, renowned senior posek, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chachmei Lubin and author of the multi-volume Shevet Halevi, was asked (Shevet Halevi 10:18:1) if it is permitted to daven Minchah or Maariv on Purim while wearing a Purim get-up.

Revach.net records Rav Wosner’s response. Rav Wosner says that the exterior garments of a person are not what the halacha is concerned about. Standing in front of important people refers to one’s demeanor and attitude. It refers to the way one stands before the King of all kings. Thus, in this case, if one is davening with respect and seriousness and in accordance with the halacha, and one’s head is covered k’halacha, then, says Rav Wosner, it doesn’t make a difference what kind of hat or clothing one is wearing.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}


  1. I would wonder if anyone with a down hat would stand in front of a king the way hats are worn today? Most people don’t bother to bend it down, and they keep it in back of the head.(The hat would be straight if an animal with it`s head down would wear it.) Years ago these cool hats were worn only by Afro-Americans. Maybe since Obama became president cool hats are acceptable. It`s time to keep our head straight (& the hat straight).

  2. In Yerushalayim there are Yidden

    called Perushim. They are descendants

    of the Talmidei Hagra and Misnagdim. They

    Daven Nusach Ashkenaz and follow most

    Minhogie Ashkenaz.

    Some of them wear on Shabbos, Shtreimel

    and Kaftan (no Gartel).

    When asked, why Misnagdim wear Shtreimels,

    most will answer wearing a Shtreimel is a Minhag


    Minhag Yerushalayim, not only the Chasidim

    who wear Shtreimels and Kaftans.

    Going back in history,up to the end of the 18th century

    there were practically no Ashkenazi Yidden

    living in Yerushalayim. The first Ashkenazi

    Yidden in Yerushalayim were the Talmidei Ba’al

    Shem (1780) and Talmidei Gra (1808). Until then, the only

    Yidden in Yerushalyim were Acheinu Bnei Sforad.

    The Sefardim in those days never saw even

    a picture of a Shtreimel. So when and how

    did the Shtreimel become a Yerushalmi Levush?

    The Aruch Hashulchan* (O.Ch. 551:11) writes

    “ In the previous generations (In Lita/Russia)

    on Shabbos they wore Shtreimels and silk

    Kaftans. Later on the government forced them to

    change their way of dress to hats and short


    R.Yakov Lipschutz zt”l (Zichron Yakov) in his

    description how Brisim were performed in the

    early days in the Lita, writes “They placed the

    father’s Shtreimel on the head of the little boy who

    brought in the baby.

    Here again, we see that even in the Lita,

    the Misnagdim wore Shtreimels.

    It was only after the government

    made them change to regular clothing, did they

    stop wearing the Shtreimel & Kaftan.

    For some reason the Chasidim managed

    to hold on to their original Levush.

    The Talmidei Hagra arrived in Yerushalayim

    before the decree in Russia ( to change their

    style of clothing). They all wore Shtreimels

    and their descendants continued on with

    the same Levush.

    Hence the Shtreimel is not an exclusive

    Chasidishe Levush but a European

    Jewish Levush, which was brought over from Europe to

    Yerushalayim by both the Chasidim and Misnagdim.

    *This piece of history is Nogeah L’Halacha

    re wearing Bigdei Shabbos on Shabbos Chazon

    Toras Aba

  3. did the Misnagdim wore Shtreimels during the summer months or year round back in the 1800s
    or was it only during the Mashiv HaRuach u’Morid HaGeshem time. ?

  4. Happy Purim mr number one you still can’t get over the fact that just because you think I should wear my brim down I should. Tuck your shirt in when you daven and don’t look at others.

  5. To # 5
    Please read again the p`sak of Rav Vosner. Its the way one should stand in front of the King Of Kings. Hashem does want people to wear the Tzi`ith outside. But Halacha requires to present yourself as in front of important people. Also see the Aguda Convention picture of 90 years ago. The Chofets Chiam z”l & all other Gedolim had their hats straight, not in the back of the head.

  6. Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer, ??”?, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ??”? , and his brother-in-law, Rabbi Shalom Schwadron ??”? , they all wore shtreimlachs, even though none of them was chassidish.